Barbican

Friday, 22 July 2011

Krakow-Barbican1

Barbican

Wondering what this is? It’s a barbican, of course. This is what wikipedia has to say:

Based on Arabic rather than European defensive architecture, this masterpiece of medieval military engineering, with its circular fortress, was added to the city’s fortifications along the coronation route in the late 15th century.

The Gothic-style barbican, built around 1498, is one of only three such fortified outposts still surviving in Europe, and the best preserved. It is a moated cylindrical brick structure with an inner courtyard 24.4 meters in diameter, and seven turrets. Its 3-meter-thick walls hold 130 embrasures. The barbican was originally linked to the city walls by a covered passageway that led through St. Florian’s Gate and served as a checkpoint for all who entered the city.

It was about a block from my hostel, along with the remaining section of the old city’s defensive walls. Most of the walls were torn down, and the old city of Krakow is now entirely surrounded by a beautiful park in their place. This barbican was built when the city was in danger from incursion by the Ottoman Turks. Here’s a shot of the defensive walls:

Krakow-Barbican2

Barbican

And if you look closely, what do you see within? A McDonald’s. Micky Dees has penetrated where the Ottoman Empire never could.

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